Care of the orchard in January
January is, by far, the coldest month of the year. In the North and in inland areas the night-time cold is very intense and it is not uncommon for it to remain below zero even during the day. In the southern regions and on the coasts, despite the milder climate, the operations that can be carried out in the open air are in any case few.
We can take advantage of it to rest, deepen our knowledge by reading books and consulting catalogs of cultivars, in anticipation of future renewals in our plot.
We also don't forget the reorganization of the equipment, the control of the stored goods and to monitor the orchard in case of heavy snowfall.
In much of the January peninsula it is not the right month for this practice: the temperatures are too rigid and could damage the young seedlings. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for even the soil to become ice cream, even in depth, a condition that makes it difficult to work on, which is harmful to the root system afterwards.
This operation can instead be taken into consideration in areas with a very mild climate. To get good results let's make sure that the soil is only slightly damp; excessive humidity can cause the formation of air bubbles, harmful for engraftment. We work on warm days, immediately after midday, and in very sunny positions. Good results are obtained only with plants of fair size and well-formed trunk.
Collection and storage
Absolutely the least rich period: citrus fruits are the only fresh fruit available. They are collected in temperate climate zones, paying the utmost attention during positioning in the baskets. Let us remember to always be very delicate in detachment and not to make too many layers. We also avoid placing the containers on the ground: it is precisely there that spores accumulate due to the rapid decay.
In the storage rooms we will still have the last cases of autumn products. It is important to make the selection regularly: we consume or immediately eliminate the fruits that are damaged or begin to appear too dehydrated. Kiwis, persimmons and pears, if still too hard or unripe, can be brought to maturity by placing them in a bag with apples, thanks to the production of ethylene.
Prunings and grafts
Almost everywhere it is not advisable to make cuts: the persistent humidity could favor the introduction of pathogens into the tissues.
It is possible to intervene only in very mild climate regions and on specific plants: almond, pomaceous and olive. On the other hand, for pome fruit plants, it is possible to consider splitting grafts, to be carried out in the most dry days possible and covering the area with special material.
Cold and dry days are also ideal for actinidia pruning: we work in the central hours and have a treatment with a ready-to-use cupric followed shortly. The culmination of winter prevents the spread of dangerous bacteria: let's hinder them by also disinfecting cutting tools, when passing from one specimen to another.
The orchard in January: Treatments
If the temperatures are not too low it is possible to make a periodic passage with cupric products, on the foliage and on the trunk. We carefully collect all the leaves and plant debris left on the ground (possibly making a cut of the grass) and we also nebulize the soil: it can be very useful to reduce the amount of spores present, often the cause of the return of pathologies with the rains of beginning spring.
We also monitor the presence on the branches of fruit of the previous year: let's eliminate them and, possibly, burn them. As temperatures rise (at least 8 ° C) we can (if we have not done so before) proceed with a treatment based on white oil on the whole trunk. Even more useful is if we activate it with a specific product for the wintering stages of the phytophages that struck us the most the previous year.